The military is less of a melting pot and more of an awkward stew with liberals thrown in among conservatives, conformists, and the occasional hippie stoner. That sort of diversity doesn’t just vanish once you leave active duty.
Just as you changed after leaving the military, the friends you made while you were in have likely gone through the same transformation, and sometimes it’s a bit shocking.
Here are the five military buddies that all veterans have, or have had, at one point or another.
1. The one who waits to leave the military to get in shape.
Back when you guys were roommates, the farthest distance you ever saw him walk was the seven feet from his sweat-stained La-Z-Boy to the fridge so he could grab another beer and a slice of three-day-old pizza.
Now he’s doing Tough Mudder every week, uploading daily sepia-toned gym selfies to instagram, and announcing to his friends when his posts are the top hit on #bodybuilding. You can’t decide what’s more impressive, or irritating: his sudden transformation from fat body to body builder or that his gym selfies always have perfect composition and use the rule of thirds.
2. The guy who suddenly gets all sophisticated.
The last time you saw each other in the military, he was passed out on the floor with an empty handle of Sailor Jerry’s rum next to his head, and partially choking on a full horseshoe of Grizzly Wintergreen Long Cut snuff.
Now he’s attending an Ivy League school, doing a double major in postcolonial literature and art history, reading Descartes and Derrida for fun, and pronouncing their names correctly.
3. The guy who’s still pretty much in, except now he has a beard.
4. The guy who gets accused of stolen valor when he says he was in the military.
5. The female vet whose military service makes her civilian boyfriend feel emasculated.
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Credit James Clark